Code: Debugging the Gender Gap

Robin Hauser Reynolds and Kimberly Bryant

Robin Hauser Reynolds, the Director/Producer of CODE interviews Kimberly Bryant, Founder & CEO Black Girls Code

A film many instructors may want to use in class or tell students to watch is now widely available. The film is the documentary Code: Debugging the Gender Gap. You can find it on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vimeo, and TV on demand. It will be available to stream on Netflix in 2017.

The film explores how cultural mindsets, stereotypes, educational hurdles and sexism all play roles in keeping the number of women and minorities in software engineering jobs low. It has screened in 47 countries and at over 400 companies and organizations, including The White House.

“We are thrilled that CODE continues to have impact on audiences across all industries worldwide, and that we’ll have the chance to reach so many more when it begins streaming on Netflix next year,” said Director and Producer Robin Hauser. “Our hope is that it continues to open up conversations about what we would all gain from having more women and minorities code.”

Robin Hauser Reynolds & Megan Smith

Diretor Robin Hauser Reynolds, interviews Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States during the Obama Admistration

Code: Debugging the Gender Gap includes interviews with employees at Yelp, Facebook, Google, and Pinterest, among others, and explores how cultural mindsets, stereotypes, educational hurdles and sexism all play roles in keeping the number of women and minorities in software engineering jobs low – and what can be done to change this.

New Accessibility Tutorial for Learners and Educators

The Paciello Group announced a new online interactive tutorial called Teach Access. The tutorial is well organized and allows the learner to do some coding and see the results. It’s a result of work done by The Paciello Group and the Teach Access organization.

Learners are encouraged to use Voice Over to verify results of their coding efforts. Instructions for using Voice Over are included.

Something this tutorial does that you don’t often see is offer instruction in ARIA attributes such as ‘aria-labelledby’ and ARIA roles such as ‘list’ and ‘listitem’.

Following the exercises involving code, there is a section on design principles that talks about color contrast, text size, copy writing, and photos and videos.

This tutorial is a very useful site for anyone who wants to learn about writing accessible web sites.

 

W3C’s WAI Creates Perspectives Videos for Accessibility Understanding

an image of a man with burned toast

Just as we all like different degrees of doneness in our toast, users need to be able to change the way text is displayed — changing the size, spacing, font, color, and more — in order to read the text. When text is changed, no information or functionality should be lost, the text should re-flow, and users shouldn’t have to scroll horizontally to read sentences.

A wonderful new resource from the W3C is a set of very short videos called Web Accessibility Perspectives. The videos take a particular aspect of web accessibility such as keyboard compatibility or clear layout and design and show how they are essential for people with disabilities and useful for everyone.

I picked one at random, the text to speech one, to share here. There are 10 videos in all. They are perfect for use in a class about accessibility or just for learning something about web accessibility if you’re trying to understand it yourself.

 

 

Excellent Posters from Ada Lovelace Day

The Ada Lovelace Day website has some excellent posters for educating yourself and for educating students. The one that caught my eye first is the “Amazingly Enormous Careers in STEM Poster.”

Others include “Ten Types of Scientist poster,” “Ada Lovelace poster,” and “Mary Anning poster.”

You can download the posters from the Ada Lovelace Day website or buy them already printed out and ready to be put on display. Here’s the Careers in STEM one, not very readable at this size, but enough to give you an idea what you’d get if you bought the poster.

 

For Middle and High School Girl Coders: YouTube Series “My Code”

Girls Who Code, the national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology, today released “My Code,” a YouTube series about learning how to code from the perspective of four female coders. The weekly series will air every Thursday on YouTube at YouTube.com/GirlsWhoCode.

“My Code” shares the experiences of four Girls Who Code alumnae: Audrey, Brittney, Margot, and Shannon. These real world role models and coders, all in high school, represent a diverse range of perspectives and interests in technology – from gaming to animation to social impact to web design. Every week, the cast of “My Code” will answer questions about what it’s like to learn to code and tackle a different perspective on their journey: from why they learned to code to the challenges they’ve faced and their plans for the future. The aim is to provide relatable and practical advice for teen girls who are interested in coding.

Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, said: “Teen girls increasingly take their cues about what they want to be from places like YouTube. In fact, 81.9% of US Internet users between the age of 14-17 are on YouTube. That’s a lot of teenage girls. We wanted to fill a gap we saw on YouTube and present relatable and inspiring role models for the next generation of women in technology. I often say that you can’t be what you can’t see. Our goal is to help girls see themselves as coders and, by doing so, start to close the gender gap in technology.”

Well before college, young girls have begun to opt out of computer science. While girls’ interest ebbs over time, the largest drop-off happens during the teenage years. Studies point to media portrayals of coders as “nerdy boys” and lack of roles models as key reasons that girls opt out. By college, only 18% of Computer Science majors are women. This gap then continues into the workforce and has major implications for our economy. By 2020, there will be 1.4 million open jobs in computing. Women are on track to fill just 3% of those roles.

Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its Summer Immersion Program and Clubs, Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. By the end of 2016, Girls Who Code will have reached 40,000 girls in every US state. Additional information is available at girlswhocode.com.

Upcoming changes in Apple iOS 9.3 will Affect Education

images from Apple.com of iOS 9.3

A group of students can be set up as a classroom to use any iPad

Apple announced changes aimed at education that are coming in iOS 9.3. The changes allow a group of students to share iPads. Faculty will be able to set up profiles for each child in a classroom. Those profiles can then be used on any classroom iPad.

Students log in to any iPad and have access to all their apps, books, and documents.

With Apple iOS 9.3, teachers can guide students through a lesson, see individual progress including what’s on the student’s screen at the moment, and keep them on track. Teachers can project a student’s work on a classroom television equipped with Apple TV with AirPlay.

Images from apple.com of shared iPad use

Teachers can show everyone the same thing at the same time during a lesson

Teachers can launch everyone’s apps at the same time, then guide what students are looking at on their devices.

On the administrative side, there are tools for creating accounts, setting passwords, managing enrollment information, making bulk purchases of books, and creating and delivering lessons with iTunes U.

I think these changes will be important to educators from the primary school through college level.

Images via Apple.com

GTFO The Movie

A scene of gamers from GTFO

GTFO, the movie, premiered at SXSW in 2015 and is now available from a number of outlets. Created by Shannon Sun-Higginson, the documentary takes a look at sexual harassment in gaming.

The description of the film is,

Sparked by a public display of sexual harassment in 2012, GTFO pries open the video game world to explore a 20 billion dollar industry that is riddled with discrimination and misogyny. In recent years, the gaming community has grown more diverse than ever. This has led to a massive clash of values and women receive the brunt of the consequences every day, with acts of harassment ranging from name calling to cyber vandalism and death threats. Through interviews with video game developers, journalists, and academics, GTFO paints a complex picture of the video game industry, while revealing the systemic and human motivations behind acts of harassment. GTFO is the beginning of a larger conversation that will shape the future of the video game world.

You can buy or rent GTFO on iTunes, Vimeo, BitTorrent, Google Play, Xbox, Playstation, and Vudu. The film is available for educators at the movie web site, which has resources for women who are being harassed.

Time Magazine interviewed Sun-Higginson in Meet the Woman Helping Gamergate Victims Come Out of the Shadows. It’s worth reading.